July is here, and the heat is a’coming. While we’ve been hashtagging summer for all of June (and let’s face it, most of May), now is when the temperatures start to skyrocket, so it’s time to enjoy a wheat beer, even if you’re not usually a fan of the category. Here’s why.
When it comes to cooling down, the beer you want to reach for should be clean, a bit fruity, and taste like a beach vacation in a bottle. Even if you’re normally a fan of stouts and heavier beers, they can be overwhelming during the summer swelter. And while ciders are a good summer choice, they’re distinctly tangy and often pretty sweet, which isn’t for everyone. Wheat beers have just the right amount of sugar without being cloying. They have subtle tropical flavors, a good citrus balance, and refreshing bodies that go well with everything from hot dogs to a salad bar. If you’ve written off wheat beers, we’re begging you to give them another chance. Here are seven to get you started.
Ignoring the awesome name of this Hefeweizen, Kellerweis is a fantastic unfiltered wheat beer that packs a layer of lemon on top of banana and floral notes. Kellerweis looks a little hazy, but don’t let that intimidate you. This beer is raging with flavor, perfect for a mid afternoon snack just as the heat is spiking.
This spicy wheat beer is brewed with orange and coriander, and boy does it taste like it. In fact, there’s so much orange in here, we once mistook this for a shandy. Taste luscious citrus with a touch of vanilla and cinnamon. The mouthfeel of UFO White is creamy, with sufficient yeastiness that reminds you of the wheated base.
3. Schneider Weisse Original
Slightly more bitter than your typical wheat beer, Schneider Weisse’s original wheat beer is a German classic. Enjoy citrus, a good spice kick, and bananas. Earthy dryness leads up to the clean finish. If you couldn’t go to Oktoberfest but still feel as hot as a music festival attendee, Schendier Weisse is the beer for you.
4. Hell Or High Watermelon BEST OVERALL
Are you looking for a jolly-rancher sweet, candy-coated beer that tastes like a watermelon milkshake? Then move along. This beer might be packed with thirst-quenching, succulent watermelon, but it’s totally dry in flavor, making it paradoxical and awesome. 21st Amendment Brewery’s Hell Or High Watermelon (which also pairs really well with golden Oreos) combines watermelon’s essential taste without dumping in a bunch of unnecessary sugar. This canned beer takes the bread taste in wheat beer and kicks it up a notch with mouthwatering melon goodness. Do yourself a favor and buy it.
5. Ommegang Witte
Ah, this beer is just great. We had some over the 4th of July and were reminded that no matter how much time passes, Ommegang Witte is super. Gentle and velvety, Ommegang Witte tastes like powdered-sugar coated lemons with toasted whole grain flair and a bit of honey. The mouthfeel is luxurious, but cleansing – ideal for pairing with food or capping off a liquid meal.
This beer is much sweeter than Hell Or High Watermelon, but it isn’t quite on dessert level sweetness. Still, we recommend this wheat beer for those who have more of a sweet tooth. There’s obviously plenty of fresh, strawberry flavor, but you’ll also get deep fruit flavors that you might find in light-bodied red wines.
Another classic German wheat beer, Weihestephaner’s Hefeweissbier might have an unwieldy name, but it’s well-suited for an American palate. If you’ve been missing hops throughout this list, fear not, because they’re right here. Enjoy zesty cloves, beach-ready bananas, luscious fruit, with a solid wheat backdrop. There’s a good bit of fragrant foam, and you shouldn’t pour past it. Instead, enjoy all of the delicious, complex aromas this wheat beer offers. They’ll serve as a distraction from the sweat collecting all over your body.